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Seven Men Chosen for a Special Work

6 1More and more people were becoming followers of Jesus. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers had an argument with the other Jewish followers. They said that their widows* were not getting their share of the things that the followers received every day. 2The twelve apostles* called the whole group of followers together. The apostles said to them, "Our work of teaching God's word has stopped. That's not good! It is better for us to continue teaching God's word than to help people have something to eat. 3So, brothers, choose seven of your own men. They must be men that people say are good. They must be full of wisdom and full of the Spirit.* We will give them this work to do. 4Then we can use all our time to pray and to teach the word [of God]." 5The whole group liked the idea. So they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit*) Philip,* Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus (a man from Antioch, who had become a Jew). 6Then they put these men before the apostles.* The apostles prayed and put their hands on* the men. 7The word of God was reaching more and more people. The group of followers in Jerusalem became larger and larger. Even a big group of Jewish priests believed and obeyed.

The Jews Against Stephen

8Stephen (one of the seven men) received a great blessing. God gave Stephen power to do miracles* and to show proofs from God to the people. 9But some Jews came and argued with Stephen. These Jews were from a synagogue.* It was called a synagogue for Libertines.* (This synagogue was also for Jews from Cyrene, and for Jews from Alexandria.) Jews from Cilicia and Asia* were with them. They all came and argued with Stephen. 10But the Spirit* was helping Stephen speak with wisdom. His words were so strong that the Jews could not argue with him. 11So the Jews paid some men to say, "We heard Stephen say bad things against Moses* and against God!" 12By doing this, these Jews upset the people, the older Jewish leaders, and the teachers of the law. They became so angry that they came and grabbed Stephen. They took him to a meeting of the Jewish leaders. 13The Jews brought some men into the meeting. They told these men to tell lies about Stephen. The men said, "This man (Stephen) always says bad things about this holy place (the temple). And he always says bad things against the law [of Moses]. 14We heard him say that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy this place. He also said that Jesus will change the things that Moses told us to do." 15All the people sitting in the meeting watched Stephen closely. His face looked like the face of an angel, and they saw it.

widows A widow is a woman whose husband has died. apostles The men Jesus chose to be his special helpers. Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. Philip Not the apostle named Philip. put their hands on Here, doing this showed that these men were given a special work of God. miracle(s) Miracles are amazing works done by God's power. synagogue(s) Synagogues were places where Jews gathered for prayer, study of the Scriptures, and other public meetings. Libertines Jews who had been slaves or whose fathers had been slaves, but were now free. Asia The western part of Asia Minor. Moses One of the most important leaders of the Jewish people during the time of the Old Testament.

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